RADAR-CNS research uncovers what patients want (and don’t want) from wearables

A series of focus groups has produced fresh insights into what would encourage – or discourage –use of wearable healthtech by people with depression, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

Discussions involving adult patients in Italy, Spain and the UK form the basis of three recently-published articles from RADAR-CNS Consortium members. (Full titles and links at end of page.)

These papers contribute to an emerging evidence base around mHealth technology. RADAR-CNS hopes that they will help ensure that future development of technology acknowledges user preferences.

The studies emphasise that there are distinct considerations and issues for each of the conditions. However, several potential benefits and concerns were identified as important in two or three of the conditions.

Among the benefits was the potential for wearable devices to provide motivation to users, or to be more accurate than memory in recording symptoms. Concerns included privacy issues and digital literacy.

‘Tangible difference’

Sara Simblett, a post-doctoral research associate who led the studies for RADAR-CNS, said: “There is a lot of excitement about the potential of wearables in healthcare. For products to make a tangible difference to people using them, it is vital that devices are developed with an understanding of the needs of users and take account of their concerns. It is also important that users are not given unrealistic ideas of what wearables can achieve.

“We hope in the long term that our three papers will inform the development of effective wearable healthtech. In the short-term, we hope they will be the basis of new research on the needs and opinions of other stakeholders, such as family members and healthcare professionals.”

RADAR-CNS recently opened a study asking medical professionals’ views of remote measuring technologies (RMT).

This research is part of RADAR-CNS’s ongoing commitment to incorporating patients’ views in our work. Another part of this commitment is our Patient Advisory Board. People with depression, epilepsy or MS can sign up to become involved in our work here.

The papers

  • Patient perspectives on the acceptability of mHealth technology for remote measurement and management of epilepsy: A qualitative analysis – Epilepsy & Behavior, August 2019 (DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.05.035)
  • Engaging across dimensions of diversity: A cross-national perspective on mHealth tools for managing relapsing remitting and progressive multiple sclerosis – Multiple Sclerosis & Related Disorders, July 2019 (DOI: 10.1016/j.msard.2019.04.020)
  • Barriers to and Facilitators of Engagement With mHealth Technology for Remote Measurement and Management of Depression: Qualitative Analysis - JMIR Mhealth Uhealth, January 2019 (DOI: 10.2196/11325)

All RADAR-CNS publications are listed on our publications page.